Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cozumel's Mexican Cultural Lesson

Cozumel's Mexican cultural lesson at Discover Mexico Park at the port of Cozumel gave both Jack and I a good history/geography lesson on Mexico. In the course of two hours with our personal guide David and one other couple from Edmonton, Canada we had a chance to really understand and appreciate the varied 52 states of Mexico and her diverse ancient and present day peoples and cultures. Our tour began with a video and a huge map of the 52 states of Mexico that David explained to us. Did you know that Mexico has ruins that date back over 4000 years and that they rival the pyramids of Egypt? Above is a famous Mexican art design: the tree of life.
After the introductory video we toured an excellent art museum on the premises. Above is a sand painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe that is under glass on the floor and the sand is not glued down so moving the glass might disturb the painting. (You can just see the tip of the guide's foot in the upper left corner of this photo.)
This beautiful pot made of Mexican clay was made first and then all the outside designs had to be applied by hand very quickly before the pot's moisture was lost so many people gathered around the pot to apply these designs.
Look at the intricate designs on this pottery pot.
These are just some of the art works we saw in the museum.
After touring the museum we went outside where we got to walk around a minature village of replicas of all the famous Mayan, Aztec, Olmec, Totonaca cultural ruins as well as cities of current day Mexico.
Take a look at these ruins.
This replica of a Mayan ruin from the Yucatan peninsula dating back to 600-900 years before Christ was amazing. The 91 steps on each of the four sides of the pyramid adds up to 364 and the platform at the very top makes it 365 steps. The number of days in our present day calendar. Now isn't that interesting.
David told us that the best place to rent a hotel room to celebrate Mexico's Independence Day on September 15 is here on the plaza in downtown Mexico City. Across the plaza is the royal palace of long ago.
A park in Mexico City that celebrates Mexico's revolution and independence.
Another freedom monument in Mexico City which is the most populated city in the world with over 35 million people.
All of these replicas of the original monuments and buildings are in a 1 inch equals 49 inches in real life so some of these actual ruins and buildings are immense in real life.
This was the first tour that Jack and I have ever been on that we stopped in the middle for a rest and a cold drink. When said we would like a Mexican Carona beer they suggested we try a local heavier beer called Negra Modelo.
So we tried it and it was good. It is lot like an Irish Guinness stout.
This is the replica of the Zacatecan Cathedral from 1729 in Zacatecas, Mexico that many claim is the most beautiful cathedral in all of Mexico. In the facade are hidden symbols of Aztec culture that the colonial Spanard construction masters didn't realize were being added to the Catholic cathedral.
This is a replica of the Cathedral of Guadalajara which was built in 1561. Near here is where Tequila the drink first originated.
Here you see what happens when you drink too much Tequila and then try driving! Oh---ohhh! Car crash!
This replica of the Mayan ruin at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula is a meteorlogical and astronomical manmade wonder. Click on the photo to understand. At the bottom steps are two snake heads. At the very top are two snake tails. One day a year the sun creates a dark shadow along the side of all the steps going from top to bottom that completes the body of the snake. I believe David said this occurs during the spring equinox. This ruin was created sometime between 600 - 1400 years before Christ. Now how did they gain the knowledge to do this? Amazing!


fishing guy said...

Joann: A very nice photo journey through Mexico. I loved the clay pot.

DragonQuilter said...

Definitely looks like you had a lot of fun. Were you able to actually go to Chichen Itza and climb the steps? It's a trip worth the long drive!!

Susie of Arabia said...

What a fabulous trip. I love the Tree of Life. I went to the ruins and pyramids in Mexico when I was a teenager (MANY years ago) and I remember walking all the way to the top of the big pyramid. Mexico has so much interesting history that many people don't realize. Great post!